Brunei sees increase in mobile data consumption

Lyna Mohamad & Rokiah Mahmud

There has been a 20 per cent increase in broadband usage, with broadband penetration up by 60 per cent and over 2,800 new orders monthly.

This was based on statistics collected by network provider Unified National Networks Sdn Bhd (UNN).

There has also been a 22 per cent increase in the daily consumption of mobile data, with each mobile customer consuming 18 per cent more data.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent has been recorded in the daily consumption of fixed data, with each fixed broadband customer consuming 31 per cent more data.

These were among the highlights of a presentation delivered by UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler during the hosting of a media lunch at the Radisson Hotel yesterday.

Dr Oehler said the event intended to reflect on UNN’s accomplishments since assuming operational responsibility for the national telecommunication networks in Brunei Darussalam on September 1, 2019, while providing an outlook for UNN’s mid and long-term objectives and plans until 2024.

UNN CEO Dr Steffen Oehler. PHOTO: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“UNN’s presence is created specifically to address the needs for transformation of the telecommunication sector in Brunei, focussing particularly on state-of-the-art and competitively priced telco services provided to the public,” he said.

“With the transformation involving various stakeholders, UNN’s part is to create telecommunication platforms for the future needs of the nation’s economy, as a wholesale company providing these services to our partners in the industry, namely imagine, DST and Progresif.

“Being a wholesale service provider for telecommunication services, UNN is not directly interacting with retail customers, individuals, households, administrators and businesses, as our customers for mobile voice and data, home broadband, corporate connectivity are these three services providers.”

He said, “These three service providers define their own strategy, how to address the needs of the named customers in terms of tariffs, packages and innovative add-ons; and UNN, along with these three partners are forming telecommunications for the ecosystem of Brunei and working hand-in-hand for the benefit of the customers.

“UNN’s three-pillar strategy focusses on network and platforms, services and innovation and building a sustainable organisation and developing talent.”

The CEO described the transformation of UNN, which began with the announcement of the programme, a detailed due diligence and asset valuation, and technical and ops planning for Go-Live milestones.

“After the operations date and asset transfer to UNN, involving networks, IT, location and spectrum and the start of the Go-Live project implementation, the service providers began providing fixed and mobile telecommunication services to their customers by January 24. The number portability was introduced in a pilot regime and the operational stabilisation phase started,” he said.

At this stage, UNN is at the network consolidation and modernisation stage, and will be implementing the Radio Access Network (RAN) Expansion Programme and Coverage Expansion.

The Coverage Expansion covers 120 new sites planned for the next four years, improvement coverage in remote locations such as the Temburong District, and increased capacity in targetted locations.

Dr Oehler also disclosed that UNN had boarded around 450 employees for the past 12 months, with a further 116 positions to be filled in the upcoming months across several of
its domains.

Further job offers will be issued in coming weeks, as UNN has been advertising externally for local employees.

“Two graduates in the iReady programme have already been employed. There are plans for further numbers in the coming weeks, as well as 25 apprentices and 10 interns across several domains such as DC&IT, Network Factory and Human Resources,” said Dr Oehler.

“UNN continues to have secondees, as there are several areas that need their skills for a period of time. They will be provided upskilling and opportunities to reskill in order to be eligible to apply for open positions in the future.”

He said UNN has already begun the implementation to upskill its employees in the technical and soft skills areas. “In the technical area, for example, UNN has partnered with our suppliers to training staff to support the RAN Capacity Expansion Project, which runs for two years.

“In the soft skills area, a leadership and management development programme has been designed, which is an important building block to upskill the new and existing leadership team.”

The event concluded with a question-and-answer session, which saw the participation of Chief Operations Officer Uwe Beydemuller and Chief Digital Officer Heiko Trost.